American Cancer Society in need of ‘real men’ to wear pink for breast cancer awareness


Photo by Amy Magorien

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

Men are not typically the focal point of conversation when it comes to breast cancer, but the American Cancer Society is searching for “real men” in Muskingum County to participate in the first “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign in the county.

October is breast cancer awareness month. Throughout the month of October, local men who volunteer as candidates will be tasked with not only raising funds to benefit research and free programming support for the ACS, but also wearing a little pink everyday.

“It’s kind of like a really cool ice breaker that way,” Katie Cleland, a community development manager for the American Red Cross, said of wearing a little pink everyday to raise more awareness.

Whether it’s wearing a pink shirt or tie to work, a pink baseball hat, a pink belt, pink shoe laces or a pink outfit from head to toe, each candidate will be asked to wear some pink each day to start conversations and raise awareness for breast cancer.

“I think it comes back to the idea that thousands of men are diagnosed with breast cancer but, on top of that, hundreds of thousands of men are supporting the women that they love with their breast cancer diagnosis,” Leigh Anne Hehr, a state-based health systems manager for the American Cancer Society, said. “And it just gives them a unique opportunity to get involved in a way that they haven’t had an opportunity to in the past.”

Through help from their employers, friends, family members and other community members, each candidate will be tasked with raising around $2,500 from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31. Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers, as well as men that reach certain fundraising goals by specific date deadlines.

With fundraising campaigns like Real Men Wear Pink, the American Cancer Society is able to fund research for breast cancer, and provide free services to people with breast cancer.

“All ACS programs are free because of Relay for Life, Real Men Wear Pink, all of our events,” Amy Magorien, a hospital health systems manager for the American Red Cross, said.

According to the ACS, since 2005, almost 8.5 million free rides to treatment have been given to cancer patients by the ACS. In 2017, nearly 452,000 nights of lodging were covered by the ACS for cancer patients. Since its support program began in 1969, over 1.5 million patients have received one-on-one support from other breast cancer survivors.

During the 2018 nationwide campaign for Real Men Wear Pink, men raised over $9.5 million for the American Cancer Society.

The fundraising goal for Muskingum County is $50,000 during October. As of Thursday, Aug. 22, $8,854 has previously been raised toward the $50,000 goal.

Matthew Perry, President and CEO of Genesis Healthcare System is the first committed candidate from the Muskingum County community.

“He’s taking the lead and challenging all the men in the community to join him,” Magorien said.

Any men interested in learning more or signing up to be a local candidate email Katie Cleland at or click here to sign up and create their own fundraising profile.

Once candidates sign up to participate, they and a guest will be invited to Genesis HealthPlex on Sept. 30 for the Real Men Wear Pink of Muskingum County kick-off event.